A family in Uasin Gishu County is struggling to comprehend the mysterious death of their son who was a nursing student at a university in Finland.
Rodgers Kipruto, 28, formerly a nurse at Nakuru Level 5 Hospital and Mediheal Hospital, moved to Finland last October through an airlift programme initiated by the Uasin Gishu County Government and the Finnish university.
The family was notified three days ago that Kipruto had allegedly died by suicide, with his lifeless body discovered hanging in his hostel at the Laurea University of Applied Sciences. Though it was reported that he hanged himself on Tuesday evening, no further details about the circumstances of his death have emerged.
Kipruto's family in Tarakwa, Kesses sub-County, said he had told them he was stressed due to the challenging living conditions in Finland. He had left his job in Nakuru to pursue further studies there.
Kipruto, a graduate of Chebara High School in Elgeyo Marakwet County and Kenya Medical Training College, was described by his family as a polite and hardworking individual with aspirations of becoming an international nurse.
His father, Jonathan Kosgei, said his son went to Finland after a recruitment agency affiliated with Uasin Gishu County informed him of potential employment in Finland following his first semester at Laurea. But this opportunity never materialised, leading to mounting frustration.
“My priest and church members came to my house at 6am on Wednesday and broke the sad news. I am yet to believe that he died by suicide just hours after we spoke,” Mr Kosgei said as he fought back tears.
Kosgei said he talked to his son one day before he was reported dead. He added that Kipruto had been in a jovial mood. Kosgei and his wife Leah said their son had complained about being misled regarding job opportunities in Finland. At one point this year, he requested to return to Kenya.
The parents urged the Uasin Gishu County administration to inform students about the reality of life in Finland, where many students pay up to Sh1.5 million per year for diploma and degree courses, with the false promise of securing jobs in the foreign country.
"Rodgers told me that life in Finland was too expensive, the weather unbearable, and he faced language barriers, which worsened his situation. He said that he was happier in Kenya and there were no jobs in Finland as promised," the devastated father said at their Burnt Forest home.
The father said Kipruto had told his siblings that he was worried about the pressure he was putting on him to pay the substantial university fees. “I was planning to deposit Sh500,000 for school fees next Monday. I had paid Sh150,000 last week. There was a time he was thrown out of class and hostels after delays in fees payment, and that disturbed him."
The father expressed frustration at paying fees to a Finnish university through the county without ever receiving the institution's fee structure. He presented receipts indicating he had paid Sh918,000 in tuition and an additional Sh256,000 for airfare and other expenses last October.
Leah appealed to President William Ruto to help the family bring back Kiprutos's body home, and to order an investigation into Finland's training programmes.
"As a struggling parent, I feel duped because cartels are using the promise of jobs abroad to lure students and earn commissions," she said.